Have you ever made a promise with a friend or family member that if either one of you were to ever win the lottery you would split the winnings? I think a lot of people say this but how many of those people actually follow through with it? Tom Cook of Wisconsin, kept that promise to a long-time friend after nearly three decades.
Best friends, Tom Cook and Joe Feeney made a pact with each other back in 1992 that if either of them won the lottery that they would split the win with each other. Their dream came true when Tom won $22 million on the Powerball lottery in June.
After more than three decades since the pair shook hands on their deal, Tom Cook decided to play the US Powerball lottery as usual. His lucky numbers finally matched the winning drawn numbers 10-33-41-52-54 and the Powerball 18 to win the $22m jackpot.
Speaking to lottery officials the Tom and Joe said that they met in a restaurant and over the years have travelled to Niagara Falls and Yellowstone Park and have a meal together every week.
Joe said that they buy Powerball lottery tickets for the draw every week, but they never really thought they’d win the jackpot.
Since playing the lottery the pair had only won $100.
Tom found out about winning the Powerball lottery jackpot, while he was out having breakfast with his wife.
He’d left the table and when returning told his wife ‘You read this.’ It was the results of the draw and his shocked wife immediately showed the numbers to a friend for confirmation. They read the numbers and told the couple, “It looks like you guys won the Powerball.”
Tom immediately called Joe and told him they had finally won.
Joe laughed: “He called me, and I said, ‘are you jerking my bobber?” That means ‘are you joking with me?’
Tom and Jeff said that they opted to receive their winnings as a lump-sum cash payment which will amount to $16.7 million and split it down the middle.
What will they do with their Powerball win?
Tom declared that he would retire immediately. He’d been a maintenance worker for years and enough was enough.
He said, “I can’t think of a better way to retire.”
Joe had retired before the Powerball win and they told lottery officials that the win meant that they could not only spend more time with their families but that they never have to worry about money again.
Joe said, “We both grew up with not a lot of money, so this is really something special.”
Their winning will also be spent on going travelling once the current health crisis allows.
Other best friends that shared their lottery win
Tom and Jeff aren’t the only friends who have split the top jackpot prize with each other.
In May this year, best friends Alan Barker and Kathleen Cook who have been best friends for a staggering 70 years won $2 million on the lottery.
Mr Barker said he looked at the screen and was dumbstruck when he found out they had won.
Paula Barraclough, 45, and Lorraine Smith, 54, who have been friends for 17 years won half of a £15.3 million UK Lottery jackpot.
Lorraine bought the winning ticket because her bus was late and found out that they had matched all six numbers early on Sunday morning then immediately called her best friend.
Speaking to lottery officials about their win, Lorraine said, 'I picked up the phone and said to Paula, "You better be calling me to tell me we have won the lottery waking me up at this time".
'And the voice on the other end of the phone replied, "We have. We have all six numbers". I just fell silent - I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing.'
Paula who works in a coffee shop, said, 'This win is life-changing, it means I will finally be able to move into a house of my own, rather than living with my parents and I can start to write my dream shopping list.'
Despite the massive windfall, Paula and Lorraine both plan to go back to work.
Lorraine, who was back at work within hours of finding out she had won, said: 'I literally threw my old frying pan away the day before I became a multi-millionaire so a new frying pan will definitely be one of the first things I will be buying.
'I certainly won't be giving up work - I have people who rely on me and who I need to cook for.
Lorraine, who lost her husband six years ago, said: 'I always stay at my mum's house on a Friday night.
'I was full of cold when I woke up on Saturday morning and went out to the bus stop at 6.30am for my journey to work. The bus didn't turn up and I really needed to get warm.
'I discovered I had a £2 coin and some loose change in my pocket so I popped into the local shop and bought a Lucky Dip Lotto ticket - never did I believe the fate of the bus being late would result in my life being changed forever.'
'It was only when I got on the phone to Camelot I realised my best friend and I really were multi-millionaires.'
Both Paula and Lorraine said. 'We will certainly be continuing to play. We just cannot believe our luck.'